VENGEANCE FALLS is the sixth album from Florida based metal band, TRIVIUM. It’s also the most anticipated & criticized album in years from the band, even though most of these fans have never even heard the album yet.
Is VENGEANCE FALLS any good? It sure is. In fact, it’s great. But it’s definitely different from what you’re used to from TRIVIUM. It’s darker, it’s heavier, it’s more technical it’s more big in its feel. But it also feels somber, secluded & less “catchy” then their previous albums.
The title track, “Vengeance Falls” feels like something completely new & alien to a metal band with this much experience behind them. Whereas “In Waves” felt like a very heavy groovy metal song that felt a bit mainstream friendly ( which is good ) Vengeance feels completely different. The vocal work & overall feel of the song is something new, a bit scary at first as you feel like TRIVIUM is treading waters they don’t quite know, but then you’re left with a great song that feels fresh & different.
This is how I felt like the entire album was from beginning to end, there’s your insta-fan favourite songs like “Strife” or “No Way To Heal” that will please pretty much anyone, but then there’s those dark tracks that will make some fans raise their eyebrows while exciting the hell outta others.
"No Hope For The Human Race" is a great song that just simply sounds like TRIVIUM through & through but feels evolved in the vocal work & arrangement of instruments, it’s very groovy & headbanging worthy. "To Believe" & "Through Blood And Dirt And Bone" are some of my favourite tracks on the album due to their classic TRIVIUM feel but they feel injected with that maturity & that confidence to make something truly timeless.
"Brave This Storm" is another great track that feels closer to something that would’ve came off The Crusade but is also a great song, it’s also the most "safe" song on the album. Which is fine, but it’s definitely one of my least favourite songs on the album—-but it’s still great. So I guess that’s a compliment wrapped in an insult disguised as a handshake?
We have to go deeper.
Honestly, I wasn’t too afraid that TRIVIUM wasn’t going to please my expectations. They’re a band I’ll listen to the day they either disband or a T-1000 comes through time to stop me from hearing their next album. They have the potential to become something timeless & be remembered amongst the pantheons of metal music as one of the greats.
VENGEANCE FALLS is just another step on the stairs to legendary status, that’s how I feel about it. It sounds like ASCENDANCY at times, CRUSADE at others & definitely feels like an album influenced by IN WAVES. I know many fans wanted another SHOGUN but asking a band to produce an album that replicates another is sheer blinded nostalgia.
Every album of any artist should encapsulate their dreams, motivations & inspirations at that point in their lives. So to say, “We want another album like that one we like!” Is stupid because that album was a representation of their lives at that point, much like how VENGEANCE FALLS represents the TRIVIUM of 2013 & onwards.
With that being said, it’s a solid album that I think ages & taste finer with every listen. So if you wanted me to compare TRIVIUM to something else, yes this album is like great aged wine. It’s just great.
TRIVIUM has always been a band that takes chances & gambles their artistic integrity in order to produce something that will stand the sands of time & with VENGEANCE FALLS, they’ve succeeded in not only achieving a new level of sonically impressive metal but have crafted a mature, dark & technical album worthy of their own legacy.
It should also help that this album will tickle your ear pussy with sweet music. VENGEANCE FALLS, well falls, on OCTOBER 14th. Get it & support the band! Listen to it.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V is probably the biggest game of the year & for good reason. There’s no other game out there that can effectively unite players across all genres, tastes or cultures like GTA can. There’s something about the worlds that Rockstar Games creates that just resonates with fans worldwide.
With GRAND THEFT AUTO V, Rockstar has not only near perfected their craft of the open world genre but they have solidified yet again why they are indeed the kings of video games.
GTAV takes place in the sprawling lively city known as Los Santos, a beautifully articulated concrete playground crafted with love & care throughout. It’s a living breathing world that feels authentic while offering up various varieties in terms of environment & culture. From the iconic Grove Street of San Andreas to the beautiful mountains of Blaine County, this is a world that never ceases to impress.
But a world can only take you so far if the inhabitants within aren’t as interesting but unsurprisingly the cast of GTAV is a memorable & loveable bunch. I shuddered originally at the concept of three main characters but Rockstar has assured me through my journey of Los Santos that I was stupid to doubt them.
These three characters feel like real flawed individuals that could realistically exist in modern society. Michael De Santa is a retired bank robber who spends his days drinking himself stupid while sitting on enough cash to last him multiple lifetimes, but he’s unhappy. He’s lost, angry & feels like he’s wasting away in his carefree life. So he decides to get back into the business & this is what sets the entire game into motion.
The second character is Franklin Clinton, a mid-20’s gang banger who excels at driving but feels like he’s surrounded by morons who have no inclination on how to improve their livelihoods. Franklin is a strong, calm & rational human being which made him a pleasure to play.
Finally is Trevor Philips, a psychopathic Canadian drug dealer who revels in the chaos of crime. He’s insane, hilarious & offers the most outrageous moments in the game. He’s also the character I worried about the most being that I didn’t think I could take him seriously but he’s extremely well developed & deep. Overall these three rock & there is a great variety of characterizations between them.
What I wasn’t expecting, especially since GRAND THEFT AUTO IV was very serious in tone, was the amount of comedic elements that Rockstar implemented into the story & writing. The amount of times I laughed out loud or simply smirked was uncountable. There’s so many hilarious parts of this game & it’s amazing that the game balances it’s serious elements with that of sarcasm, comedy & brutal mature content.
You’ll be laughing the entire way to the end, I can assure you.
But one of the greatest new features of GTAV is the ability to swap between characters whenever you please. By simply holding DOWN on the D-Pad you can swap between the trio in order to experience their missions in whichever order you like. I also love how when you switch these characters could be in the middle of something too.
I changed to Franklin & he’s out with his dog getting some exercise but if I changed to Micheal he could be lounging having a drink in his backyard. Or change to Trevor & be literally in the middle of a 2 star rating police chase. It gives the game a real feel & I loved that.
Another amazing element of the game are the HEIST jobs. These missions are where all the mechanics that GTAV is fundamentally built on shine with shimmering perfection. Before every heist, the player must spot out the location, maybe grab some vehicles they need or steal weapons or outfits to make sure the job goes as smooth as possible.
You’re given options in these heists so players who want to be more discreet & stealth their way to fortune ( me ) or players who want to cause insane chaos can do that too. These choices & how you go about them give the game replay value, because the entire mission structure is polar opposite to what you did before.
These heist missions vary & my only complaint is that there should’ve been even more of them. Apparently when GTA ONLINE launches in October there will be more heists for players to do together, so I’m excited for that. But they are seriously the best missions in the entire game. That’s not to say the other missions which range from ridiculous set piece to the next aren’t on par but the heist missions are their own brand of monster.
So the game is near perfect in almost every way, the characters are memorable & interesting, the world is beautiful & varied as well as the mission structure allows for flexibility & replay value. So is there anything wrong with the game?
My only “problems” if they can be defined as that are that the storyline while awesome doesn’t have anything game changing-plot twist wise. But that’s okay because the story is what it is & I’m cool with it. The game also, this isn’t a complaint, feels a bit short. But it’s not. It felt like I played the game for 15-20 hours before I beat it when in reality once the credits rolled I clocked in around 38 hours of gameplay alone.
So this is definitely the kind of game that will feel like you played an hour when really it was like, well, your entire weekend really. So beware of your social life! Because it won’t exist with this game in your possession.
Just try to go outside every once in a while, alright?
GRAND THEFT AUTO V is a beautifully articulated marvel of entertainment. It’s the work of a studio crafting an experience at the top of their game & never once compromising anything in the process in terms of quality.
It’s hilarious, exciting, beautiful, huge, unique & dare I say extremely fun as well. If you love video games or want to experience one of the best video games from one of the most talented studios in existence, well what else do I need to tell you?
Unsurprisingly, GRAND THEFT AUTO V is a masterpiece of interactive entertainment. If you’re smart, you’re already playing it. If you’re not, well it’s time to get smart. It’s GTA, what else is there to say?
It’s the Daniel Day-Lewis of video games, nothing really stands a chance at beating this.
I will start off by saying that I have never completed a full TALES game ever. It’s not that I don’t like the series or anything, I just simply never really got in touch with TALES on the same level that I did FINAL FANTASY or other JRPG series.
That being said, I would also like to admit that I’m apparently an idiot, because XILLIA is a great game. So if gameplay mechanics or anything else that I praise or dislike in this review, just know that I’m basing this solely on this one game, I have no experience with anything else in the series.
That being said, let’s get to why this game is impressive.
As soon as you begin XILLIA you’re given the choice of picking who’s side of the story you want to experience it from. Firstly is Milla Maxwell, a mysterious young woman with the power to command the elements of nature with the swing of her hand. On the other hand is Jude Mathis, a medical student who excels in martial arts who gets sucked up into a journey unlike anything he’s ever witnessed.
Deciding on who you want to follow changes the entire perspective of the journey, from different story segments & narrative perspectives. I went with Jude simply because, well I’m a guy, so it sort of just made sense. It’s an interesting concept that feels similar to old Star Ocean games.
Whichever you choose, the game will begin it’s course as you delve into some really great JRPG action. The story of XILLIA is rather interesting as well, but I won’t delve too much into it for spoiler reasons. All you need to know is Milla & Jude are on a quest to destroy a super weapon called the Lance of Kresnik, a weapon capable of changing the course of history.
The world of XILLIA, called Rieze Maxia, is a vibrant land full of nature & splendor. The people of Rieze Maxia depend on spirits, ethereal beings who co-exist with the physical plane of existence in order to live their lives. These spirits grant humanity the ability to perform miracles from healing sickness to maintaining their livelihoods.
But of course nothing is what it seems & that’s the great part of XILLIA.
The story of XILLIA changes constantly & keeps you guessing throughout its lengthy 35+ hour campaign. You’ll meet people & think of them one way, only to have your expectations be proven to be completely wrong. The cast is solid for the most part with some interesting heroes that join the quest throughout Rieze Maxia.
There was at least 3 or 4 times where the story took a sudden turn that completely changed my perspective & expectations on the conclusion of its story. It’s a memorable tale about co-existence, deception, destiny & courage. It’s definitely a memorable tale amongst the pantheon of stories I’ve experienced in the genre.
The cast of heroes are also interesting, which to be honest I wasn’t crazy for any of them when I first met them. Every single one of them comes from a different path in life & brings their own unique personality to the tale at hand. The only weak character is the last character you obtain, who doesn’t really have any real reason for being on this journey other than to be quirky & annoying.
But the other five are great, especially Alvin the trench coat giant sword wielding scoundrel. The story is interesting & memorable as are its characters for the most part but where XILLIA really shines is in its gameplay.
Most importantly, the combat system.
Combat in XILLIA plays in real time with every encounter feeling fun & fresh throughout. It’s amazing that a JRPG could suck me in the way XILLIA did without diminishing into annoying drivel when it came to combat. Essentially you play as one character whereas the other 3 are AI controlled. You set Artes, which are basically techniques, to different analog stick directions & buttons.
This in turn makes XILLIA feel more like you’re playing a 3rd person action game with fighting game elements instead of just being turn based & formulaic in that sense. You can chain combos however you please & react at your own pace to enemy attacks. Blocking the foes attacks, swinging behind them & unleashing a lion made of pure spirit energy that devours them never got stale.
I also loved how you could chain together attacks with other characters which in turn allows the player to unleash combination artes ranging from dual holy spears, massive fire explosions, shockwaves of energy & shattering landscapes with powerful spirit artes. Each character also has a unique ability ranging from guarding against magic attacks, breaking enemy defences or binding foes in anti-gravity that can turn the tide of battle as you link up with different combinations.
So combining multiple different combination artes, chain combos, abilities, skills & more makes the gameplay of XILLIA never get stale in the whole 51 hours it took me to complete it. Not to mention being able to set Skills to your characters ranging from Strength +10%, Light Resistance +30% or extending the amount of attacks you can do.
Did I also mention that this game features a level system that’s similar to FINAL FANTASY X? Well I guess I did now.
The Lilium Orb System is how you customize & strengthen your characters attributes. Every time you level up you gain a certain amount of orbs that you can then spend to increase your stats, mana or new attacks. In order to unlock an ability you must collect all the upgrades around that ability. So say to unlock Jude’s “Raging Blast” arte, you’ll collect the Strength, Vitality & other orbs around it which then “nets” that skill & unlocks it for use.
It’s a rewarding & engaging system that never gets stale. I personally find the Sphere Grid from FINAL FANTASY X to be the single greatest level up system in any RPG ever. So for XILLIA to adopt a similar process can only be given praise from me, I love it.
The villains of XILLIA are an interesting bunch as well. XILLIA tends to take a different route in this perspective because each adversary isn’t inherently bad per se. In fact it could be said there really isn’t a villain in XILLIA at all but instead various individuals who seek different dreams for Rieze Maxia. One of the most noteworthy characters is Gaius, the long black haired red armoured king who wields a massive katana in battle.
Are the villains a bit typical for a JRPG? Yes they are. Gaius is pretty much Tales’ version of Sephiroth from FINAL FANTASY. That isn’t a bad thing by the way, it’s better to pay homage to great things like Sephiroth as long as the character is interesting. There are definitely some forgettable characters in the game as well…
I guess it’s that time to get into what doesn’t work for XILLIA.
First off is some of the characters are, for lack of a better term, rather stupid to be honest. One of the characters that joins Jude & Milla on their quest is a character named Leia. She’s vibrant, happy & loud but besides that her actual reason for being on the quest is somewhat pointless. Every other character has a definite reason that makes sense with the plot, Leia feels like an after thought that is simply added to be the “somewhat annoying obsessive loudmouthed I’m holding everyone back” character.
You know she’s sort of redundant when even other characters start to say that Leia is holding the entire squad back & that she’s annoying. There’s also a couple of villain characters I could’ve done without as well. I feel a good rule of thumb is to look at the characters in a story & imagine if their removal would cause any significant change to the plot.
In Leia’s case, the plot would barely be changed. She really didn’t need to exist, the cast could’ve benefited from a much more interesting character than her. But there’s other problems with XILLIA too which started to wane on my enjoyment throughout Rieze Maxia.
The one big problem I had with XILLIA was its animations & lip synch work. A lot of the time the game plays out with static character models standing like drones as their mouths stop moving while words are still being pumped out. There’s awkward breaks of silence for no reason as well as the characters feeling more like dolls than actual people. Don’t get me wrong there are parts where suddenly things become extremely better with animation & facial work but it’s too little in such a long experience.
Another problem of mine was recycled environments between cities. The towns of XILLIA are distinct for sure as Fennemont is completely different from Sharilton or Nia Khera, but there’s these zones between towns where players are given enemies to fight & treasures to collect. Unfortunately most of these areas are very basic open arenas that never offer very interesting variations for gameplay mechanics other than crawling through holes to find treasure or climbing the odd ledge to…well treasure.
It’s not the worst I’ve seen in a JRPG but it does give a sense of false length as some arenas drag on with their landscapes that seem to blend together instead of being distinguishable. An area three hours into the game will look a lot like an area thirty hours into the game with some slight variations & it’s a disappointment that there wasn’t more effort put into originality. If you just went with the original areas in this game, the length of the overall experience would’ve been much less.
Also even though this is a JRPG, I’m still not buying young kids being able to fight ravenous monsters & badass villains. As cute as the character Elize is, it’s not believable to accept that a little girl like that could take a thunderous blow from a giant monster turtle. I feel like JRPG’s still haven’t grown up enough & it’s due time they stop incorporating small children into these games.
Some people enjoy these cute innocent characters but in reality they harm the experience more than anything. How can I feel threatened or cautious of enemy soldiers or the villains in a video game if they’re capable of being beaten by a child who wears a dress & carries around a doll? I understand the cultural differences between Japan & other regions of the world but it’s due time these characters are erased from JRPG’s.
At least give a reason in the story for them being able to fight. Maybe they’re an indestructible person created through experimentation that makes them impervious to damage. Or they’re otherworldly, hell I’d even accept a robot to a certain degree. Children in games fighting stuff doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. At least games like Pokemon justify it because it’s the Pokemon themselves doing the heavy lifting.
But these children in JRPG’s are just ridiculous, it needs to change.
TALES OF XILLIA is a great example of how to craft a console quality JRPG for the modern age. It’s full of heart, excitement, wonder & action while never sacrificing its story elements in the process. What it lacks in polish, facial animation & some forgettable characters it makes up for with amazing combat, character customization & a great story.
If you’re looking for a lengthy JRPG full of things to enjoy, then TALES OF XILLIA is for you. It’s not the best in the genre but it’s definitely worth any JRPG fanatics time & money. Just as long as you can look past some of its limitations, you’ll be rewarded with a journey that’ll resonate.
Fantastic combat, level system & shop mechanics
Vibrant world, interesting characters & sound
Great story, good length & fixes many JRPG limits
Beautiful animated cutscenes & great skit scenes
One of the better JRPG’s in recent years
Facial & body animation could’ve been done better overall
Some forgettable characters & annoying JRPG cliches
Environments between main areas are recycled & uninspired
Missed opportunity to incorporate gameplay elements to exploration
THE WOLVERINE is the comic book film of this summer season that I had literally no expectations for. I’ll start off by saying that I’m a massive X-MEN fan but never found any of the live action flicks to be my particular taste. There’s always something stupid that happens or something that feels rushed or “we put in this mutant just so you can be like wow!” moments.
THE WOLVERINE however decides to instead, smartly, change that dynamic with instead of filling its run time with random characters like Blob or Gambit in ORIGINS, director James Mangold instead focuses on a smaller cast which gives the movie a much more personalized feel.
THE WOLVERINE is all about, you know, Wolverine. It’s a personal journey that Logan James Howlett takes after the ridiculous events of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, a film everybody would rather reject it’s existence instead of paying homage to. It starts with a reclusive hobo Logan living in the wilds trying to cope with his guilt by running away from his destiny. The film establishes his existence to that of a ronin, a samurai without purpose after failing to protect the one person they were sworn to at all costs.
In this case, Jean Grey of the X-MEN. The woman who became Phoenix & was killed by Wolverine’s hand.
There’s a lot of plot that’s hidden behind smoke & mirrors that I would rather not explain but the overall message of the film is that of forgiveness & acceptance. It also poises an interesting concept, if you can live for eternity can you ever truly forgive yourself for the things you’ve done? The things you experience? How long can you live for until you have nothing left? It’s tantalizing & interesting which allows the film to focus entirely on Wolverine as the fantastic anti-hero he’s always been.
The cast is also kept pretty minimal as well which I’m thankful for. The supporting cast ranges from Yuriko, a badass ninja samurai guardian who seeks Logan out of his retirement while dressing like the most anime looking girl you’ve ever seen. On the flip side is the traditional & elegant Mariko Yashida, one of the most pivotal love interests in Wolverine’s comic career.
The action set pieces are also pretty great & it’s wicked to see Wolverine fight Yakuza thugs, ninjas & other crazy stuff. It’s also equally impressive due to the entire film, besides the beginning, taking entirely in Tokyo Japan. It’s pretty much based on the prolific Chris Claremont run of Wolverine & I’d have it no other way. It’s great.
So the flick is solid, Wolverine is done justice & the supporting cast is good along with an interesting storyline. So yeah, here’s the part where I start to complain about stuff because I am a comic book fan. No spoilers don’t worry.
One of the weakest & almost downright unnecessary parts of the flick was the inclusion of The Viper. She’s basically the mutant equivalent of Poison Ivy in a way but instead of controlling plants she just shoots venomous poison & has a long nasty tongue. She’s not exactly memorable, riveting or even that interesting & I feel like her only inclusion is to have a reason to remove something integral from Wolverine just for “riveting drama” just for a bit.
Plus her outfit looks really stupid. The other problem I had with the film is that THE WOLVERINE seems to follow the plot of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES & IRON MAN 3 almost to perfection. All three films feature their hero being a mopey “I’m not that person anymore” kind of guy who gets thrusted back into that life again by an unknown woman who is somehow tied to a very integral part of that characters past with something they don’t even think about anymore.
All three have the heroes becoming their superhero personas for a bit only to have something that makes them who they are taken away from them, Batman’s back & costume, Iron Man’s suits & now Wolverine’s healing factor. All three have villains that are in some way tied to their heroes pasts & a lot more comparisons I won’t say just so I don’t spoil this flick for you.
There’s also one HUGE thing I hated about this film that felt so unnecessary it’s ridiculous. I won’t say what, but you’ll know it when you see it. Besides that? It’s a pretty good film.
THE WOLVERINE is the film fans of Logan James Howlett deserved from the beginning. It’s full of action, drama & interesting dynamics that keep the film from becoming cinematic blasphemy like the previous X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.
Hugh Jackman also proves he’s still got it to play the Adamantium laced X-Man & the rest of the cast is solid besides the ridiculous Viper. There are some questionable things that were hard to overlook but overall if you’re looking for a solid action flick, THE WOLVERINE delivers.
Also wait until the mid credits scene, you’ll be glad you did.
Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine
Personal journey that delivers
Great action sequences
Supporting cast, environments & the end credits scene are great
Some questionable changes near the end of the film
PACIFIC RIM is the wet dream of all males of all ages, that’s how I would explain this film. It’s a film about giant robots punching giant monsters in their faces & watching property damages that rival some of the most catastrophic moments in history.
It’s quite simply a really fun movie. Lemme’ tell you why.
RIM takes place in the 2020’s where a gigantic rift has suddenly opened deep within the Pacific Ocean, allowing massive monsters passage into our world. In order to face the Kaiju ( Japanese for Monster ) humanity decides to create massive badass robots called Jaegers ( German for Hunter ) which basically means this movie allows me to live out one of my biggest dreams as a child.
Watching giant robots punch giant cool looking creatures in their stupid faces with their giant awesome stupid robot fists.
If the premise of PACIFC RIM sounds ridiculous & over the top that’s because it’s supposed to be. It’s the realistic representation of concepts residing in things like Power Rangers, Transformers, Gundam Wing & more. The idea behind the Jaegers is that it takes two pilots to control them in order to work efficiently against their foes. These two pilots must meld their minds into one through technology that allows them to “Drift” into each others psyches.
What I did love is that as The Jaegers get damaged & feel pain, so do the pilots. If an arm gets damaged, the pilot feels it since they’re connected to the machine. It’s very much like one of my favorite Japanese Animes named Escaflowne. Pacific Rim feels like a celebration of everything cool about giant monsters.
But thankfully there’s actually a story with people that do matter to the plot, which was surprising.
Now you probably rolled your eyes & are saying, “Dude it’s about robots & monsters who cares about the characters they probably have horrible storylines anyways” I would say I was right there with you until I saw the movie itself. The cast is solid, it’s not amazing or genre defining & it’s definitely full of cliches but that’s not the point. The characters work, you can clearly understand where they’re coming from & there’s a real emotional attachment to these people beyond the fact that they’re the protectors of mankind.
The main character is Raleigh Becket, played by Sons of Anarchy’s own Charlie Hunnam. He’s essentially the badass calm warrior who goes through something earlier in the film that results in Becket losing himself amidst the chaos. His journey is one of redemption & learning to come to terms with loss in order to better tomorrow. I dug his character.
His co-pilot is the ferocious Mako Mori played by Rinko Kikuchi who happens to be the first Japanese actress in the last 50 years to be nominated for an Oscar. I was skeptical about Mako simply because I figured she would just be a soulless badass who would be the weakest part of the film. Thankfully she’s not & her reason for being included in the Jaeger program is one that drives her motive, which is that of vengeance & regret. Again I dug her character.
Rounding out the main cast is the excellent Idris Elba who plays Stacker Pentecost, a legendary Jaeger pilot who handpicks the best humanity has to offer in order to face the Kaiju threat. He’s basically Nick Fury from The Avengers except he has two eyes, a killer stache & one silky smooth accent. His motive is that of protection, despair & responsibility in ensuring humanity is capable of protecting their planet from a threat unlike anything we’ve witnessed before. His character I dug the most but that’s almost not fair just Idris Elba is absolutely amazing in anything he does. So you could say I dug his character just a tad bit, or something.
The rest of the cast fits the usual cliches from Charlie Day as the crazy Kaiju scientist Dr.Newton Giezler & other wacky cameos from other actors who play their parts with excitement which is helpful in order to keep the film from transforming into a snooze fest. Overall you understand these people & why they exist. Are they cliche? Yes. But do they work?
But besides the humans, the badass Jaegers & everything else there’s also one huge component of what makes PACIFIC RIM so enjoyable to watch, The Kaiju.
These hugely impressive feats of animal are the bad guys of the film & vary from beast to beast. For those thinking it’s a film where there’s only two or so variations will be happily pleased to know there’s a ton of variety to the various Kaiju threats that attack Earth. Some resemble sharks, others gorillas but overall these Kaiju are fantastic looking creature designs that allow the fights to take on a life of their own in a way.
Each behaves in their own manner, they almost reminded me of Megaman bosses in a sense that each has a “power” that is unique to them. I won’t spoil what they can do but let’s just say it keeps things interesting. Every time a new Kaiju enters the ring, it’s huge monster battling time & it’s just so awesome to watch.
It’s clear that the concept artists for this flick designed creatures that look & emulate the feeling of love for creature designs in all mediums. Some of these beasts are absolutely amazing with how they utilize their anatomies in order to fight. It’s safe to say the overall presence of these big guys is very welcoming.
My only gripes with the film are a few things. One, I’m not really a fan of when movies suddenly find a way to explain why monsters are attacking Earth out of nowhere. Granted the film does find a clever way of discovering this but nevertheless I almost felt like I didn’t need to know why. My other complaint is that like the cast which is cliche it felt like the film plays it safe with many of it’s components in order to make it accessible. My third point is one Jaeger suddenly out of nowhere sprouting a sword, that would have seemed useful earlier on…but anyways I’m just babbling now.
PACIFIC RIM is a monster vs robots enthusiasts wet dream. It’s big, loud & full of epic battles that make previous films in the genre look puny & weak in comparison. The influence of Japanese Animes such as Escaflowne, Gundam Wing & television shows like Power Rangers help bring the world & life of PACIFIC RIM to a level unmatched by anything else out there.
PACIFIC RIM is a lot like porn, you’re watching it for a very distinct reason & you know what you’re in for. Was that too literal? Too bad because that’s the best way to describe this flick.
Case & point? Go watch PACIFIC RIM. It’s freaking awesome. ‘Nuff Said.
Jaegers & Kaiju designs are detailed, awesome & varied
A love letter to Japanese Anime & everything cool
Solid cast overall that have fun with their roles
Awesome battles, great CGI & sound effects
Most enjoyable movie I’ve seen all year
Explaining the origin & reason behind The Kaiju is mixed
Let me just start this off right away by saying I have never read WORLD WAR Z. Instead of my usual bickering about how movies & books are complete polar opposites, I have no knowledge of the differences between the film adaptation & book form of WORLD WAR Z.
With that outta the way, let’s just say this was a fun movie.
The film pretty much just stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane. A greaser haired United Nation’s operative who gets thrusted into a global pandemic in the hopes of finding the salvation for all of humanity. Or in other words, THE WALKING DEAD meets 28 WEEKS LATER meets Hollywood action movies.
Originally I thought I was going to sit down in a comfy seat, turn my brain off & watch Brad Pitt run away from infested people viciously rushing for his body. I assume the way zombies react to Pitt in this film is very much the same when he goes outside to buy Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon.
But surprisingly my brain didn’t shut off & the film didn’t treat the audience like complete idiots, at least not the entire time. There’s definitely some "this has to happen in order for action to occur" sequences like idiots smacking crowbars into big metallic objects but beyond that I had a lot of fun.
The reason why people these days have such an infatuation for everything zombie isn’t just because of the flesh eating horror or the relationships between people but it really comes down to a few simple things. The downfall of society, survival of the fittest & the nail biting sensation of constantly worrying that everything could turn into a literal shit show.
WORLD WAR Z balances this dynamic quite admirably by showcasing how modern societies would react to a pandemic that has the potential of wiping out everything. There’s a particular scene in a supermarket that in my opinion perfectly displays what would happen in a situation like this.
It’s easily one of my favorite sequences in the film, it doesn’t even feature hordes of zombies. It’s that terror & desperation in humans that makes these nightmares seem the most horrifying & WORLD WAR Z nailed it on the head.
The family dynamic is probably the strongest aspect WORLD WAR Z has going for it. Pitt & the other actors, shame on me for not knowing their names, act like an actual family that genuinely feels real. It’s an interesting yet effective concept to hang the fate of humanity on the shoulders of a middle aged man who has so much to lose in terms of loved ones.
In the context of the source material you begin rooting for Brad Pitt to make it out of every situation he encounters. The flick even boasts impressive vistas & giant action sequences that feel like the UNCHARTED games with their sense of spectacle & scope. Zombies are trampling one another like there’s insane deals on Black Friday.
Overall, if you dig zombie flicks & haven’t read the book or can accept changes I think you’ll dig WORLD WAR Z quite a bit.
WORLD WAR Z is huge, vicious & full of impressive action sequences that will satisfy almost anyone to some degree. Although the zombie genre has been overplayed to death, the film works due to it’s balance between family relationships, pulse pounding action & of course Brad Pitt’s acting chops.
As someone who has never read the book & judging this solely on being an action film, WORLD WAR Z definitely delivers. But overall, I think it’s an enjoyable flick that will tickle your entertainment parts.
Huge action sequences & tons of brutal zombies
Family relationships & Pitt’s acting elevate the film
Great zombie moments & great atmosphere
"This has to happen in order for bad shit to happen" sequences. Like people hitting stuff alerting zombies when it could have been easily avoided. ( There’s a few examples of these moments )
Diverges from the source material ( This only matters to those who read it I guess? But not me of course. )
Some very blatant product placement ( Gotta drink that Pepsi! )
By: MILAN JEGENJAN Email: AscendancyMilan@hotmail.com
So a funny thing happened a couple of days ago, I was browsing my email when I noticed in my Junk folder a peculiar email titled, “WELCOME TO THE FINAL FANTASY XIV BETA!” I leaped at the chance & downloaded the client. After about an hour, I dived into the world of Eorzea & decided to review my experiences thus far.
To put it bluntly, I had zero expectations as to what to expect from this game. But from the elegant start menu, to creating my very own character to finally delving into the world my experience with FFXIV was nothing short of impressive. Lemme’ tell you why.
The world of Eorzea is absolutely beautiful. Having played online games before & being a massive FINAL FANTASY fan myself I was excited to see how the legacy of this franchise would translate into the HD Generation. The game is beautiful, almost ridiculously at times. The lighting effects & art designs flow beautifully to create glimmering vistas as the dynamic weather system cascades glowing warm light across tall foreign looking cities.
Character models are detailed & varied as well are the NPC’s that you encounter in the world. I played the Beta on my Playstation 3 & before delving into the game I was worried that a Console MMO would be a mess. Surprisingly, the game worked extremely well & I had little to no slowdowns at all. I witnessed large parties of players talking to one another as they rode by on their Chocobos & I couldn’t help but smile as I walked in the forests of Gridania saying to myself—-
This is what Final Fantasy is all about.
One of my biggest complaints about MMO’s is of course the combat itself, I usually find MMO combat to be repetitive & annoying because it’s boring, formulaic & extremely uninteresting to watch over & over again. But of course this is Final Fantasy, even though the combat does adhere to MMO standards the variations, animations & flow of the combat makes everything interesting & dynamic.
It’s not boring is what I’m trying to say.
The combat flow also works extremely well with a PS3 controller due to how easy it is to hotbar & execute attacks on the fly. By holding down R2, the directional pad & X,O,Square & Triangle buttons become input commands for attack. You then simply click them & bam, you’re fighting. You can also hold down L2 & all those buttons become different commands such as Sprint, Limit Break or Return. You can customize it anyway you please, you can put Emotes, Potions or Defensive skills anywhere you want.
You can also click R1, then for example hit O for Set 2 & boom you now have an entirely new plethora of skills to use that you can customize with ease. It’s really simple, effective & efficient. Clicking on enemies, NPC’s or checking your map or skills is also easy with tailored crafted systems for console gamers. Basically if you were afraid that FFXIV would be a hassle to play on consoles don’t be.
It works better than any other MMO I’ve ever played, seriously.
Quests range from full blown stories, fetch quests, monster hunting to many others. One quest had me tracking down a man who was stalking this young woman & sending her stolen items of fortune. Upon meeting him we fought, I killed him & returned with a letter from this man to the young woman. Upon realization it turns out the stalker was her long lost brother who was condemned to a life of crime & murder & only wanted to see his little sister taken care of.
Needless to say, I felt something after that particular quest. There’s also story quests which advance the canon of the game & everything is easy to navigate & traverse thanks to distinct quest icons above NPC’s showing what sort of quest they offer & an overview BEFORE you talk to the NPC so you can see if what they want is something worth your time. You can also connect yourself to Aethernet Crystals throughout cities so you can easily teleport from markets to guilds to city gates on a fly instead of running aimlessly like an idiot through giant cities.
There’s also the option to choose your rewards like other MMO’s when finishing quests as well as Hunting Logs which track your progression of your monster hunting. Kill for example 5 of one enemy & you’ll get an experience bonus for hunting them. Complete entire ranks by eliminating the required enemies & you’ll get massive EXP boosts.
One of my favorite things about MMO’s are events, which are essentially world scenarios that happen in real time where giant monsters appear & anyone around these events can participate in order to score big EXP or Gil boosts. These events are called FATE ( Full Active Time Events ) for example I was making my way through a forested area when suddenly a massive Ochu plant monster attacked me. Hopelessly weaker then my foe I stood my ground lance in hand ready to face a fight I couldn’t hope to win.
As I reached the end of my life & there seemed to be no hope for me, suddenly my health was replenished. Arrows zipped by my Lancer, fire balls started raining from the sky & I turned around to see 30 players or more rushing in from all angles to support me. Suddenly an entire company of heroes, real players, had arrived to help me. We conquered the foe & we all benefited with new armour, weapons & EXP which gave me a sexy new Level Up along with the classic Final Fantasy fanfare song playing along with it.
FATES happen all the time as well ranging from massive single boss creatures to waves of enemies that require the combined might of multiple players to overcome. Witnessing a community of players unifying under the single shared thought of victory is something only MMO’s can truly create in a riveting fashion. It’s simply great fun.
Amazingly even with 30+ players at once fighting enemies as particle effects, sword slashes, magic fires & arrows raining from everywhere the game barely seemed to lag or glitch at all. I was amazed by how smooth everything played out & I really hope the official launch of FFXIV feels the same way that it did when I played it.
There is also dungeons, instances & other varied scenarios that are great fun as well. I refused to level too far into the game because I didn’t want to see everything yet. But from what I saw, let’s just say coming from an old school FINAL FANTASY fan, I was extremely impressed.
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN’s beta has got me excited to play it when it arrives on August 27th 2013 for Playstation 3, PC & in 2014 for Playstation 4. The servers are all unified so everyone plays together, the combat is great & the art style feels like Final Fantasy Tactics & Final Fantasy XII while also having that Yoshitaka Amano beautiful flow to it all.
If you’re a FINAL FANTASY fan itching for an online persistent world full of Chocobos, magic & wonder be excited for this. It’s extremely fun.
WHY THE LAST OF US HAS AN AMAZING ENDING *SPOILERS*
"WARNING THIS ARTICLE HAS SPOILERS FOR THE PLAYSTATION 3 EXCLUSIVE TITLE, "THE LAST OF US". IF YOU HAVE NOT BEATEN THE GAME OR ARE THINKING ABOUT PLAYING IT DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE."
Still Here? Okay let’s get started.
THE LAST OF US is an amazing game from Naughty Dog that tells the story of Joel & Ellie. If you’re reading this then you probably know what happened & you’re trying to process it’s very open-ended ending.
Why did Joel save Ellie? What about the cure? Would the cure have saved mankind? Why can’t I grow a beautiful beard like Joel’s? There’s a lot of questions surrounding the ending of this game & I personally found my own way of understanding it. So I’ll get started.
As Joel awakens after the bus being submerged in Salt Lake City, he awakens to find out that The Fireflies & Marlene have Ellie all ready to go in order to proceed with getting the cure to the virus. But in doing so, Ellie would die in the process.
Joel proceeds to go into full on gorilla mode & push his way desperately to save Ellie. As Joel bursts the door down & probably shoots the last brain surgeon in North America, Joel steals Ellie & makes off into the emergency elevator. As the door opens, Joel is stopped by Marlene.
Marlene then proceeds to barter with Joel for Ellie in order to convince him that one little girls life is worth the sacrifice for the entire human race to prosper. Joel decides to neglect her offer & shoots Marlene. He then finishes her off with a headshot because even allowing Marlene the option to survive would result in a wild goose chase. Joel then takes a car & leaves Salt Lake City with the still comatose Ellie in the backseat.
As Ellie awakens disorientated by her location, Joel reveals to her that they found The Fireflies & lies to her about pretty much the entire situation. The car breaks down, Ellie changes into her teenager gear & the pair set off back to Tommy’s dam hideout in order to live. Ellie stops Joel, professes her guilt by revealing her friend Riley died as well & asks Joel to swear to her if everything he said was true.
"I swear it." Ellie nods clearly knowing it’s a lie but comforting herself in it by saying softly, "Okay." The credits then roll. The ending to me was extremely realistic yet as well extremely polarizing to many fans. People think Joel was selfish to put his own needs before everyone else’s but I think there’s one question I’d like you to ponder as you read.
Was humanity worth saving?
What I mean by this is you’ve gone on this long journey throughout the apocalypse witnessing human atrocity after another in a variety of ways. The government kills people as do The Fireflies & other affiliated groups. Would a cure really save these people? Or the better question being is—-
Would you even want to save them?
The entire game you’re probably thinking you’ll get Ellie to The Fireflies, they’ll make a cure & they will distribute it & everything will get back to normal. But in reality if Ellie were killed & the cure was created, which by the way was never said to be 100%. They could have literally just killed her to SEE how her body fights against it but that doesn’t ensure they could make a cure to begin with.
But let’s go with the possibility that, yes, they make a cure. Now what? The Fireflies will go find those human cannibals you fought in the Winter segment & be like, “Oh you eat people? That’s cool. Here’s a vaccine.” Or The Fireflies would go to the destroyed & militaristic government & say, “You guys gun down people for disagreeing with you? Wanna be immune?” Seriously think of the leap in logic in how this would make sense.
Realistically what would happen is that The Fireflies would obtain this “cure” & use it as leverage to sway what’s left of humanity in order to create a unified group under their rule. They would barter salvation in order to enslave us all. This isn’t a world of happiness either. People kill & rape one another because there’s no more rules. You really think that guy who worked a dead end job before everything went to shit will just magically accept his minimum wage job again because society can return?
Or do you think he’s more content with taking what he wants, when he wants, however he wants. This society doesn’t have to save up money, apply with insurance companies & make sure their line of credit is good enough in order to buy a car or house. Instead they just take it because they want it, that’s a lot easier & natural to the primal features of our species.
You have a nice cave, I want your cave. I kill you, your cave is now my cave. I think Tess pretty much summarizes exactly what humanity has come to when she’s talking to Joel earlier in the game. "Were shitty people." Tess says. That couldn’t be more true in a world like this one.
So with that in mind, let’s dial back to the ending of THE LAST OF US. Joel kills others in order to get what he needs in order to survive, which is Ellie, & takes off. Can you seriously blame him for he did? Would you allow your sister, brother, daughter or anyone you would fight to the death to protect in order to, on the off chance, that it MIGHT make some sort of cure?
Would you risk your happiness & well being for the likes of others?
Joel isn’t a good person after all. This is a man that witnessed his daughter get gunned down, hell even himself almost by a military soldier because it was either that soldier’s ass who would get burned by his chain of command or just follow orders & survive. From the moment you start playing this game, THE LAST OF US constantly shoves that idea in your face.
We are not worth saving. The entire experience also displays the fact that nature is getting along fine without us. The horses, rabbits, monkeys & giraffes are all doing completely fine. They’re not raping each other, well maybe the monkeys are, but in general they’re not destroying their environment in a way only mankind is capable of.
All humanity has done up until this point is exhaust resources, fight over territory & exploit one another for self gain to further enhance our own existences. Joel kills people because that’s the world he lives in, Ellie kills people because she knows the alternatives. Even that creepy David guy who gets butchered by Ellie shows that once upon a time, he was just a regular guy too.
Many people were creeped out by David & his fascination with Ellie, but really is Joel any better than him? How many people did you kill & disfigure throughout your journey in THE LAST OF US? How desperately did you want to protect Ellie against the human enemies? The only reason why you care about Joel & don’t initially antagonize him is because you’ve witnessed his losses.
You witnessed Sarah die, you witnessed the lifeless body of Tess soaked in her own blood. You’ve been along with Joel this entire time & that’s why you sympathize with him. But when David is talking to Ellie by the fire & talks about the rumours of a crazy man who has been killing all of David’s friends, how do you think David’s people interpret Joel & Ellie?
They probably think they’re monsters, demons with horns ripping out of their human shells for all we know. But it’s the context, the sole reason that you KNOW where these two are coming from. If you knew where David was coming from in his life before, would you judge him?
So I believe the ending to THE LAST OF US was more about the reflection of our own humanity being thrown in our faces & clearly people didn’t get it or liked it because the simple answer is this.
You couldn’t face yourself.
Joel represents what a capable & willing person would resort to in order to survive in this world. No one is a good person in this society. You might say Ellie is, but then I’d disagree with you & just remind you of all the people you shoot & stab with a switchblade in the Winter segment.
In order to survive we have to sometimes become the things we fear in our own thoughts. It might manifest in the form of a lie, saying goodbye to someone you love or grasping onto whatever’s left in your life in order to convince yourself that life is worth living.
THE LAST OF US has an extremely powerful & thought provoking ending that I believe just displays how truly disfigured the face of mankind really is. We are not good people, we are not truly worth saving & most of all—-
We are not integral to the survival of this planet. That’s why the ending is amazing.
BY: MILAN JEGENJAN
PSN: Shoryyuken ( If you want to add me on Playstation Network, just put Tumblr in the message we can play! I don’t have a mic though sorry. )
Every once in a while there’s an experience that will elevate it’s own genre into something more, sometimes it comes out of nowhere & just breaks all expectations. THE LAST OF US isn’t the game that broke my expectations, no, it brutally decimated everything I thought this game was going to be.
THE LAST OF US isn’t just a game to me, it’s a bonafide masterpiece.
This isn’t the kind of game for the faint of heart. THE LAST OF US is brutal, heartfelt & wholly consuming in it’s entirety. It’s the sort of game that lingers on in your memories as you sleep while equally haunting you in a way only the best kind of art can. The relationships between the characters are something that I’ve never experienced in digital form.
THE LAST OF US was an experience that I wasn’t ready for.
What makes everything work is how well crafted the entire package feels from beginning to end. This is a love letter to gamers worldwide & it shows that developer Naughty Dog has poured their heart & soul into everything you experience. The best way to describe THE LAST OF US would be The Walking Dead meets Uncharted meets The Road or No Country For Old Men.
It’s a riveting & brutal journey that spans post-apocalyptic America while never losing focus or feeling throughout. The story tells the tale of Joel, a blue collar smuggler who’s seen better days being tasked with transporting a teenage girl across the country for reasons unknown. Along the way as players experience this journey through the eyes of Joel, you start to learn who this man is.
You also learn about what he once was.
On the flip side is Ellie, the vibrant fourteen year-old girl who swears like a sailor & keeps the adventure from getting even more depressing than it already is. The small bits of interactions between these two leads to many of the games shining moments.
This is the most realistic pair of individuals in a videogame I’ve ever come across. They feel like real people who have dreams, issues & regrets while also fighting with everything they are in order to survive the harsh environment. It goes without saying that Joel & Ellie are absolutely amazingly realized as characters that it sometimes blurs the line between videogame & reality.
But the characters are only as good as the evil that inhabits their world, in the case of THE LAST OF US that leads to some truly horrifying beings. The Infected are vicious & direct as well as menacing because they never let up once you’ve been discovered. I won’t go into detail on the enemies too much but let’s just say the monsters within this society are not just mindless hordes of ravenous zombies.
After all, humans are the deadliest predators around.
The gameplay is something that I didn’t expect to be as enthralling as it ended up becoming. The basic mechanic comes down to stealth, gunplay & melee combat. The combat is similar to Uncharted 3’s but is customized to incorporate that desperate feeling to every encounter. Anything can kill you & it shows from pretty much any zombies minus the recently Infected being able to one shot kill you. While the zombies make for some true survival horror moments it’s the humans that you encounter that make the journey the most harrowing.
What makes THE LAST OF US so compelling is the lack of ammunition in the world. Finding a single bullet for your revolver is like stumbling across Aztec Gold. Every bullet counts & wasting your precious materials willy nilly can quickly lead to your enemies gaining the upper hand. You can also collect parts throughout the world which in turn allows players to craft & upgrade their arsenal to however they see fit.
The crafting system within the game also leads to some riveting moments because the game doesn’t pause to allow you to decide at your own pace. It’s great when you have to decide to craft something as Infected crawl mere feet away trying to sniff your scent. I also enjoy how similar items are used for multiple items as well. Healing kits & molotov cocktails both require rags & alcohol, it’s up to you to decide if the extra firepower is worth the risk of not being able to heal yourself.
It leads to some realistic realizations & it’s the sort of game where you will not fight every fight you encounter. You’ll savour your items, deciding to choke an enemy instead of wasting what little ammo you already have instead. It’s refreshing & really forces the player to not rely on one or two guns but instead utilize the plethora of options bestowed upon them.
Overall, the single player is masterful. But guess what? There’s also multiplayer.
I’ll come out & say it right now, I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer in my single player games. For the most part the multiplayer usually feels haphazard & shovelled in just to prolongate the experience, usually ineffectively. But THE LAST OF US somehow makes it’s multiplayer better than any of the UNCHARTED games & stands as one of my favorite multiplayer modes in any game.
Essentially you play survivors of either The Hunters or The Fireflies. Basically you’re a scavenger of either faction who must live through 12 Weeks until evacuation comes along & saves you. You collect items & scavenge whatever you can in order to keep your clan alive & healthy. What’s interesting is that you can connect FACEBOOK to THE LAST OF US so that as you progress people from your FACEBOOK actually start joining your cause & the game gives you updates on how they’re doing in this world.
As you play multiplayer matches & kill other real players you’re able to scavenge their bodies for parts, ammunition & provisions in order to better yourself & your clan. Once matches are over you get to see how many of your people are healthy or sick. It adds an interesting twist by incorporating the multiplayer into the world of THE LAST OF US where you feel like you’re fighting to survive & see another day, instead of just for the sake of killing.
It’s also equally interesting because the multiplayer mirrors the philosophies of the single player as well. You won’t start a match with a 300 ammo clip sub machine gun like other games. Instead here you start off with little ammo, no melee weapons & no materials. You have to kill & scavenge & create items in real time just like in the single player in order to gain the upper hand. The multiplayer feels desperate & overcoming your foes leads to a sense of dread & accomplishment as you live to fight another day.
The best way to describe it is THE LAST OF US multiplayer plays like UNCHARTED meets DAY Z, if that makes any sort of sense. It’s engaging & teamwork is essential in order to overcome your enemies. Pick your shots, keep a steady hand & use your environment to survive. It’s extremely well done.
I could go on about why THE LAST OF US is a masterpiece, but I think it’s safe to say that if you love games you’ll enjoy this experience a lot. It’s seriously great.
THE LAST OF US is a technological masterpiece of modern gaming. It’s dystopian depiction of modern society torn asunder by nature’s ravenous monstrosities is haunting & endearing. Combining the stellar voice acting, script, gameplay designs & overall atmosphere leads to an experience that constantly blurs the line between virtual & harsh reality.
There are few games that can make someone cry, laugh or soldier on but THE LAST OF US proves that videogames can be more than just art or mindless gaming. It’s quite simply one of the best games I have ever played & I can’t help but feel the linger of it’s story as well as the resonance that NAUGHTY DOG has crafted with this beautiful title.
THE LAST OF US is one of the best videogames ever created in my opinion, if you love videogames you have no choice but to comply. It’s just simply perfect.
Amazing gameplay, characters, story & environments
Multiplayer is endearing, engrossing & rewarding
Voice acting, script, music, sound design & animation are top notch
One of the best games of the High-Definition Generation
The best PLAYSTATION 3 Exclusive
Game of the Year Contender
One of my all-time favorite games, it’s simply perfect
By: MILAN JEGENJAN Email: AscendancyMilan@hotmail.com
MAN OF STEEL tells the story of Kal-El, the last son of Krypton as he searches to find his place in a world that doesn’t accept him. Directed by Zack Snyder & starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon & Grandpa Morpheus does MAN OF STEEL fumble & doom the Justice League franchise or does it prove that a man truly can fly?
Thankfully, I’m happy to say it’s a great movie.
It’s a film that stands distant from other superhero origin stories by, like Superman, realizing the potential that an event such as this can create as well as evoke. MAN OF STEEL at it’s core is best described as a film about first contact, as humanity struggles to come with the terms that there are indeed other beings amongst the oceans of stars. It’s also a film about legacy, responsibility & the ascendancy that each & every one of us search for our true meaning in the vastness of life.
Kal-El is the most powerful being on Earth, but at his core what makes this character tick beyond heat vision & superhuman strength? In my opinion it’s never been Superman’s abilities that defined him as a symbol to me but his inner strength to flourish with his absolute hope of humanity. He’s powerful, fast & sports a sweet costume but it’s his ability to co-exist & understand mankind that makes him such a fascinating character.
This film captures that essence pretty flawlessly, in my opinion. For those fearing about it being a film where it’s just some bearded guy fumbling around locations acting like a mopeman—-relax, it’s gonna be fine. I was actually surprised by how quickly he becomes Superman & how much of the film is utilized in order to tell this grand invasion with Kal-El in the middle of it all.
That chaos is General Zod.
Michael Shannon absolutely kills it as the warmongering Kryptonian general. There’s a change to Superman’s origin where basically Krypton’s citizens are bred in order to fulfill very specific roles in society so that they can be the absolute best at their jobs. Some are workers, some are medics, Zod however was bred to be a warrior of his people. His entire existence is to ensure that Krypton lives on no matter the cost.
This great twist to Krypton’s origin helps makes Zod a villain audiences can sympathize with & understand more than someone like The Joker. He’s not exactly a bad person, he’s just simply performing his duty to the exact protocols that his entire existence revolves around. I sort of relate it to a bee colony where certain bee’s are bred to simply defend the hive no matter the cost.
They might sting you & be intimidating but they exist for that sole purpose, could you blame them?
Apart from Superman & Zod, there’s also a ton of other great things about this film. Firstly this film moves at a great pace which allows for just the right amount of backstory in order to set up future events. You’re thrown right into the fray pretty quickly with Kal-El already coming to terms with his powers. But probably the most exciting part of the entire film has got to be the action sequences which are absolutely amazing.
This film doesn’t have just any sort of action scenes either. It feels like Snyder & friends watched The Avengers while thinking, “Let’s do that level of destruction but times it by a hundred.” The amount of property damage & special effects in this film would make anyone engaged. It’s Dragon Ball Z level ridiculous with Superman literally punching people through multiple buildings only to follow that ridiculous sequence with another equally crazy scene of ass kicking.
It’s absolutely great & one of the highlights of the film.
One of the other best parts of this film is Russel Crowe as Superman’s brilliant scientific father, Jor-El. Jor Jor is a great character in his own right but Crowe plays him with a certain level of elegance & harmony which in turn makes the character someone we can all relate to through our fathers. At least for me, Jor-El reminds me of my dad pretty much. Understanding, caring, calm & strong. Crowe was a great casting choice for the character as are the other people in their supporting roles.
Another stand out was Amy Adams as the famous Lois Lane, superstar reporter from The Daily Planet. Lois plays a pivotal role & Adams plays the character very confidently while keeping that professional sexy feel that Lois Lane fans know & adore. Plus she’s just sexy to begin with so that helps too.
To be honest, MAN OF STEEL just feels like the sort of treatment that Superman as a character always desperately needed. It’s confident, exhilarating, action-packed & full of emotion. It’s a film about growing into a stronger individual through tragedy & understanding that there’s hope even in the darkest of days.
It’s also a film about punching people at supersonic speeds & trying to estimate the amount of property damage done by these crazy Kryptonians. Also as a massive comic book fan I seriously loved the costume designs of the Kryptonians. Especially the outfit worn by Faora, which is just beautiful looking.
My only gripe with the film is the blatant placement of advertisements with moments where Superman flies up & it just says “SEARS”. Or the frequent mentions of iHop. Also look very closely for easter eggs to other things, namely one very prominent Superman villain.
But overall it’s just a great film.
MAN OF STEEL is the best Superman movie I’ve ever seen. It’s a wonderful film about legacy, responsibility, hope & co-existence. The action is ridiculously awesome, the costume designs are top-notch & Micheal Shannon as General Zod just absolutely rules this film.
MAN OF STEEL is the Superman film I’ve been waiting for & being the insatiable comic book fan that I am, it’s great to say with confidence that this film made me love this character even more.
This is the best film I’ve seen all year, go watch it.
Cavill, Shannon, Crowe & Adams all play their parts very well
Action sequences are breathtakingly awesome
Hans Zimmer’s musical score
Best movie of the year ( so far )
Superman finally has a film worthy of his legend
Product placements throughout the film ( SEARS & iHop )